Submitted to Alice Echo-News Journal

As the number of women who intend to breastfeed continues to rise, CHRISTUS Spohn remains strongly committed to support and encourage a mother’s decision to breastfeed.

Recently redesignated Texas Ten Step facilities, CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Alice and CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital South are taking the lead in offering exemplary care to breastfeeding moms.

The Texas Ten Step Program developed by the Texas Hospital Association and the Texas Department of State Health Services encourages birthing centers to support and promote breastfeeding through policy development, maternity care practices and resources for breastfeeding mothers.

Breastfeeding is one of the most effective preventive health measures for infants and mothers. Despite the many benefits of breastfeeding, only 21.3 percent of Texas mothers exclusively breastfeed for six months—the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation. To help reverse this trend, 33 hospitals in southern, central and western Texas have joined a five-year quality improvement project aimed at developing facility environments that support a mother’s choice to breastfeed.

The Texas Ten Step Star Achiever Breastfeeding Learning Collaborative aims to help birthing facilities create settings where a woman’s choice concerning breastfeeding can be best supported, with the goal of increasing exclusive breastfeeding.

“Although so many women want to breastfeed their infants, too few women succeed,” says Jennifer Ustianov, MS, BSN, RN, IBCLC. “This project has been helping hospitals give mothers and their infants a greater chance at success.”

The effort is being led by National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ) and is funded by DSHS and the Texas Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).

To acquire the Texas Ten Step designations, CHRISTUS Spohn Alice and CHRISTUS Spohn South must promote healthy outcomes for newborns by training all maternity staff and offering them annual updates. In addition, Associates must provide moms with resources for continued care after discharge.

The objectives of the Texas Ten Step Facility Program are to encourage hospitals to achieve the following goals:

  • To have 75 percent of their mothers breastfeeding at discharge
  • To support breastfeeding mothers before, during, and after delivery
  • To identify breastfeeding resources for mothers after they are discharged.

Growing evidence supports breastfeeding as critical to the health of both mothers and babies.

Good for Moms

  • Saves money in formula and healthcare costs
  • Burns up to 600 calories a day
  • Releases helpful hormones to relax mom
  • Protects mom against cancer and diabetes

Good for Babies

  • Reduces the risk of allergic reactions, asthma, infections, and stomach problems
  • Reduces risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
  • Promotes healthy growth, and brain development
  • Reduces risk of obesity and diabetes

Texas Ten Step facilities like CHRISTUS Spohn Alice and CHRISTUS Spohn-South provide continuing resources for breastfeeding families that include:

  • Telephone counseling by a lactation consultant or a certified breastfeeding educator
  • Assistance in the hospital by a lactation consultant or a certified breastfeeding educator
  • Rental or purchase of high-quality electric breast pumps
  • Availability of breastfeeding-related equipment and nursing bras for purchase
  • Women, Infants and Children (WIC) nutrition services information

Click here for more information about CHRISTUS Spohn birthing programs.

Posted on September 11, 2015